The history of what we did to Native Americans is a shameful one. Their primitive way of life, however brutal at times, was as valid an existence for humans on this Earth as any. They lived a life on Nature’s terms, sanctifying the natural world and bravely accepting the limits it placed upon their numbers, as most tribal cultures have done.
Their downfall was brought about by the relative autonomy and natural competition between tribes — thus their failure to combine into a single nation capable of rebuffing the Old World, or of exploring that world for themselves, perhaps then developing an immunity to the diseases that would later defeat them.
Manifest destiny was hogwash. And those sad, dusty reservations, where we left our Native Americans in abject squalor — they were the final insult imposed after a long train of bloody, grievous injuries. It was then, perhaps, that the crass materialism defining our own culture was at its ugliest, as we feverishly mined for gold in order to fuel trade, hoard resources, and further thwart the dictates of Nature.
But if anything could be more disappointing today than our unrepentant, materialistic culture, it would be the absence of a reborn Native American culture. Though they’ve now enjoyed for many years exclusive casino gaming rights on their reservations, and with them a windfall of revenue and wealth, they seemingly show no interest in repurchasing their traditional hunting grounds, restocking them with wildlife, and returning to their old ways.
Honestly, if they were interested, and if our culture were a little more moral, we’d cede back to them Yellowstone and other national parks, forests and wildlife areas — with the firm stipulation that they live again by Nature’s dictates, without firearms, alcohol, or modern medicine — the sorts of conveniences that lead to overpopulation and the destruction of the natural world. Human cultural sanctuaries would then stand as tributes to the abiding validity of that idyllic way of life, shielded by us as the equal of what we ourselves have manifested today.
Alas, our culture is not yet so enlightened — still compulsively amassing wealth by conquering the natural world as part of a blindly destructive survival strategy. And Native Americans, in addition to having no reason to trust us anew, seem today bereft of the far-reaching vision and the warrior spirit necessary to set out upon such an historical journey.